Last week at the United Nations, the United States joined with other countries in pledging to improve Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response. Recognizing the need to do more to prepare for future health threats, the United States reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to this endeavor.
Communities around the world have successfully made it out of the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the coordination of a global coalition of countries, the African Union, the European Union, the World Health Organization, and civil society and private sector partners. The United States, bilaterally and in partnership with the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access initiative (COVAX), and others, have supported this effort by donating over 688 million safe and effective vaccines to 117 countries and economies around the world. The U.S. joined with partners around the world to deliver vaccines, tests, treatments, and supplies and to invest in regional manufacturing capacity and local capacity to detect and stop disease.
This built on our longstanding commitment to strengthen global health security – shown perhaps most powerfully through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which has helped save more than 25 million lives from HIV/AIDS, and our investments in global health security capacity building and pandemic preparedness and response. Over the past few decades, PEPFAR has helped set up health infrastructure – like surveillance systems, laboratories, supply chains and healthcare workers – that has been instrumental for combatting not only HIV/AIDS, but also Ebola, the avian flu, and COVID-19. Further, the United States partnered with countries to launch the Global Health Security Agenda almost 10 years ago to enhance our partnerships, creating measurable, sustainable capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to epidemic and pandemic threats.
The United States is committed to doing its part to prepare for, and respond to, the next health emergency in four key ways:
- Expanding bilateral health security partnerships with countries around the world, to collaborate on ways to improve disease detection capabilities, strengthen laboratory systems, train health workers, enhance One Health, and improve biosafety and biosecurity.
- Working with the private sector to support an improved medical countermeasure ecosystem, so countries around the world can more equitably secure access to vaccines, tests, treatments, and other supplies when they most need them. The United States – alongside our partners from development finance institutions and regional and global health organizations – has announced a set of innovative financing solutions aimed at helping countries to better access these vital countermeasures during future health emergencies.
- Boosting multilateral efforts like the Pandemic Fund, which the United States has supported with $450 million and plans to contribute another $250 million, subject to Congressional notification.
- Strengthening the global health architecture by working with partners to modernize existing organizations, like the World Health Organization, and working to amend International Health Regulations and successfully negotiate the Pandemic Accord, so the world is better ready to respond to the next health security threat in a more rapid, coordinated, transparent, and equitable way.
The High Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response – the first of its kind at the United Nations General Assembly – demonstrated the collective commitment to this vital issue so that we can forge a safer, more secure future.